Sen. Cory Booker wants the Justice Department to specifically investigate the arrests and detentions of journalists and protesters Wednesday evening in Ferguson, Mo.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., the New Jersey Democrat joined calls for additional scrutiny of the actions of St. Louis County police during Wednesday's evening protests.
"I respectfully request that the Department of Justice expand its probe to include a review of unnecessary infringement of the protected rights to peacefully protest and the right of a free press," Booker wrote in his letter. "I am troubled by reports that two law-abiding journalists, Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post and Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post, were arrested and detained while in Ferguson investigating the protests."
Booker also expressed concern about the detention of others engaged in the protests Wednesday evening, including Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman who has reported from the scene via local media.
"I appreciate the challenges and complexities of the situation in Ferguson, and through personal experience in my own city I have come to learn the value of federal involvement," wrote Booker, who served as mayor of Newark before becoming a senator.
After the arrests of protesters and reporters and the overwhelming display of force that included tear gas and rubber bullets, Gov. Jay Nixon, D-Mo., announced Thursday he was designating the Missouri State Highway Patrol as the lead agency providing security in Ferguson.
"Today is the day, through our words and deeds, that we set the better cornerstone on which to build our shared future," Nixon said. "Because I know that Ferguson will not be defined as the community that was torn apart by violence, but will be known as the community that pulled together to overcome it. Today is the day that we renew our commitment to bring peace to the families of Ferguson."
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